Hidden persuaders? Brainwashing, culture, clinical knowledge and the Cold War human sciences,1950–1990


  • Prof Daniel Pick

    Birkbeck, University of London

Project summary

Professor Pick seeks to understand how brainwashing fears disseminated in culture and were then introduced into human sciences during and after the 1950s. He is therefore looking at how the psychiatric, psychoanalytical and psychological (‘psy’) professions colluded in political and commercial behavioural modification experiments from the 1950s onwards. The Cold War context is of enduring importance here as it shows how Anglo-American debates about clinical ‘mind control’ had complex roots and global repercussions. The ‘psy’ professions were accused of complicity in indoctrination, but much of this history is shrouded in myth, which this project seeks to uncover.